Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Pavonia mallow

with 32 comments

On the October 15th walk through Great Hills Park that brought you yesterday’s green-dominated picture of mosses and ferns, I also photographed this Pavonia lasiopetala, which is variously known as rock rose, rose pavonia, rose mallow, and pavonia mallow. Its flowers are typically 1–1.25 inches (25–32 mm) across.

In the United States this species is found only in Texas, and then only in a few of its counties, of which I’m glad that Travis (which includes Austin) is one.

Just as small palafoxia made its début a few days ago, rose pavonia makes its first appearance in these pages today.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 29, 2012 at 6:12 AM

32 Responses

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  1. Nice photo of this beauty, a beauty that I don’t know before now.


    October 29, 2012 at 6:16 AM

    • Even in the United States most people wouldn’t be familiar with this species, given that it grows natively only in Texas. People in central Texas who want to landscape with native plants often turn to pavonia mallow. My wife planted one by the side of our house, where if flowered nicely for several years before finally dying, but not before it gave rise to a couple of new plants nearby.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2012 at 7:07 AM

  2. It is interesting to see all your different flowers but it also comforting to see that you have some from the mallow family that look similar to ones we have in Europe. Lovely photograph.


    October 29, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    • Thanks. One of my references says that there are 111 genera in Malvaceae, with some 1800 species, so I can understand why some of the ones in Europe would resemble this one. Some of those in France could even be from America originally, thanks to human agency.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2012 at 7:14 AM

  3. I do love all the plants I’ve come across in the mallow family, and this new one is also very attractive – the leaves as well as the flowers.


    October 29, 2012 at 6:35 AM

    • Usually when I’ve photographed this species I’ve done tighter shots of the flowers or even just parts of flowers, but this time the greenery caught my attention, too, so I took a broader picture to include more of it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2012 at 7:16 AM

  4. It’s beautiful. Love that brilliant pink against the greens. Maybe it’s just me but I also see the resemblance with the hibiscus flower.


    October 29, 2012 at 8:01 AM

  5. Very nice! I visualize a nearly overhead image of a dancer twirling clockwise, with her arms reaching skyward, and the flowing skirt flaring outward. The white and pink at the center and transitions are nice accents.


    October 29, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    • Thanks for your imaginative interpretation. Can you turn the design and color of this flower into a flaring skirt for real?

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2012 at 5:37 PM

  6. Was für eine schöne Farbe und diese Blüte…wunderschön!!!


    October 29, 2012 at 9:00 AM

  7. The pink color of rose pavonia is preserved very well in your macro image. I actually have this plant in my yard and it has grown here for more than 35 years. It was given to me by a botanist named Mauldin, She and her husband grew lots of native things that survived the heat and drought. Their farm in Robinson,Tx is now a subdivision. Mr. Mauldin had 100 acres of restored prairie and now you could not find a sprig of prairie grass if your life depended on it. So goes the way of population over growth. Sort of like the way non-native species such as honeysuckle, china berry, and Johnson grass, invade and take over. Sorry that was probably not a nice analogy to compare humans to invading species..


    October 29, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    • It’s good that you have rose pavonia in your yard—and have had for 35 years!

      It’s sad that so much has been lost and keeps being lost.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2012 at 6:18 PM

  8. What a Hot Pink Beauty!


    October 29, 2012 at 12:51 PM

  9. Wow this really brightens up the day, especially during a hurricane! Great photo Steve!


    October 29, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    • Happy hurricane (that’s a strange greeting, isn’t it?). At least this pavonia brightened your day.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2012 at 6:20 PM

  10. Another great portrait of a flower I never knew about. Your site is a joy to view … this great botanical compendium of Texan wild flowers.

    mary mageau

    October 29, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    • When I got interested in native plants in 1999, I was impressed by the large number of species that grow here in central Texas. The more the merrier, as I see it—and you get to see it, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2012 at 7:17 PM

  11. Mallows make great bee plants, the pollen is so easy to access and they get covered with a gorgeous yellow coating of it.

    Emily Heath

    October 30, 2012 at 3:18 AM

    • Yes, and it isn’t only those bees. Before Europeans brought honeybees to the New World, the the prominent stamen columns on the mallows here attracted all sorts of other native insects to do the job of pollination.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2012 at 3:33 AM

  12. They have blooming their hearts out in my front yard all this fall, with somewhat higher than usual rainfall and humidity…..original seeds came from the Sierra Madeira in NW Pecos County, an astrobleme sitting near the edge of the Glass mountains……..which are part of the Permian reef………all of it green this fall instead of burning either with drouth or fire as it was the two previous falls, drouth not over but at least it’s resting. Grass has gone to seed everywhere and the area southwest where the big fire was last year is completely covered with ripe grasses……..hate to see the dead pinons but hope the damned mountain cedars don’t crown sprout.

    John Mac Carpenter

    October 30, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    • Glad to hear your pavonia mallows are so abundant, John. Thanks for the word astrobleme, which I didn’t know. For others who are like me, here’s the definition in my computer’s dictionary: ‘an eroded remnant of a large crater made by the impact of a meteorite or comet.’

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2012 at 7:58 AM

  13. I have never seen one of these in the wild, though I planted one a few years ago and it blooms like crazy through much of the year.

    Ryan McDaniel

    October 30, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    • LIke you, I hadn’t initially seen these in the wild, but in the last few years I’ve begun coming across wild populations. I’m glad to hear yours blooms like crazy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2012 at 1:41 PM

  14. Such a beauty. I see the name honors botanist José Antonio Pavón Jiménez. Ironically, there is a hurricane connection of sorts, as the Pavonia PATH station in New Jersey was affected by Sandy, along with the Newport/Pavonia neighborhood.


    October 31, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    • Good for you for having done the research on José Antonio Pavón Jiménez. Your mention of the Pavonia PATH station brings back memories from the winter and spring of 1967. I was finishing my senior year at Columbia then, and while I was a student during the day, I was teaching English to foreigners in Jersey City at night. When I couldn’t catch a ride by car with one of the other teachers from Manhattan, I rode the subway downtown and switched to the PATH, getting off in Jersey City at the Pavonia station. Emerging into the darkness of that eerie industrial wasteland was an experience that I thought of as surrealistic. It’s strange for me to be thinking about it again in a blog about nature in Texas, a state I was then still several years away from even visiting for the first time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 31, 2012 at 4:15 AM

  15. I have pavonia blooming right now in my Dallas County yard, and have seen it growing wild at the Connemara Meadow Nature Preserve in Collin County. Didn’t realize it was limited to Texas!

    Linda Cooke

    November 5, 2012 at 3:52 PM

  16. […] If you’d like to step back a bit and see a whole pavonia mallow flower, you’re welcome to visit a post from 2012. […]

  17. […] We have several pavonia mallow plants (Pavonia lasiopetala) in our yard, but I’ve never managed to get as good a portrait of one from behind as when I went walking through the Taylor Draper entrance to Great Hills Park on October 10th. The backlighting brought out patterns not apparent in a conventional view, as you can confirm by comparing a picture from 2012. […]

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